Monday, February 25, 2013

New Military Medal Overvalued ?

The medal pictured at left is the newest military medal. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced its formation on February 13th. It is called the Distinguished Warfare Medal (DWM), and is meant to be awarded for "extraordinary achievement" by a soldier in the fields of cyberwarfare or combat drone operations. It is to be awarded for single exemplary acts -- not sustained service.

I don't have a problem with the medal being awarded for those who show excellence in cyberwarfare or combat drone operations. Excellence should be awarded in all areas. However, I do have a problem with where the military ranks the DWM among the medals it hands out. It is ranked above the Bronze Star (even with V designation) and the Purple Heart.

That is just wrong. The Bronze Star (with V) and the Purple Heart are awarded to those who have been in actual combat. These people have put their lives in danger (and some of the recipients have received them posthumously). But the DWM is awarded to soldiers who fight their war from a well-protected bunker, usually far from the actual combat zone.

The wife of one Bronze Star recipient (who died in the action in which he won that award) thinks this devalues the heroism of soldiers in combat. Veronica Ortiz-Rivera said:

"To know that somebody sitting at a computer who never risked their life is going to get something that’s worth more, it almost puts less of a value on what my husband did and what so many other men have done. To take that new medal and give it a higher classification than the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart is disrespectful. Maybe I’m just biased because my husband was killed in combat.

It feels like it almost strips away a little of his heroism, honestly, although he is and always will be a hero to us."

I have to agree with her. No military medal, even one awarded for excellence, should be valued higher than awards given to soldiers who earned them in actual combat, where their lives were on the line. Creating the award was proper, but ranking it higher than the Bronze Star and Purple Heart was an egregious mistake -- and it needs to be corrected.


  1. That is some crap that reeks to high heaven. Damn, what's next, the Purple Heart for carpal tunnel?

  2. I don't care how useful and helpful some computer geek is while playing his video game, he or she does not rate any medal beyond meritorious service. I say this as another 20yr geek veteran,and as any drone operator I did great service in keeping the planes flying. But just like the drone/cyber geek,I was never shot at so do not deserve any award for just going to work every day at a high tech job.

  3. If someone in front of a computer monitor, or exetensive video complex does an truly outstanding job, they deserve to be recognized. But to put it above someone who's being actively shot at, and hit (Purple Heart) is just wrong in my opinion. I've worked in the computer field for years, I've been on alert in a Missile Control capsule, and sure it's important and stressful, but not as 'heroic' as getting your butt shot at. Put it below the active combat medals.


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